In this episode of “Ballparks Around the World” we pay attention to one of the newest ballparks in AAA: Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin, Nevada, home of the Las Vegas Aviators.
This episode comes rather quick after the previous one about Blacktown Baseball Stadium in Sydney, but yours truly bumped into a video of a walking tour at Las Vegas Ballpark. What an awesome ballpark that is, so I had to show it to you.
For years, the city of Las Vegas wanted to get rid of Cashman Field, the home of the predecessors of the Aviators, the Las Vegas 51s. The city wanted to expand the adjacent convention center, so the space Cashman Field was taking, was needed for that. Besides that, the ballpark had seen its best days. Even though it still looked nice, it showed its age. Several times the dugouts flooded because the toilets in the dressing rooms broke down.
After long negotiations between the city of Las Vegas and the Howard Hughes Corperation, the owner of the 51s, a deal was struck in which a piece of land in Summerlin was donated by the HHC to build a new ballpark.
Cashman Field, by the way, is still standing as it is now home to soccer club Las Vegas Lights.
The 51s moved to Summerlin and adopted a new name: the Las Vegas Aviators. Their new home opened in 2019. Since then, the players are lyrical about the new ballpark and its facilities. Also the Oakland Athletics are talking in superlatives about the ballpark. Bob Melvin: “It’s really nice. It’s quite a luxury to have for your Triple-A affiliate, to have the kind of resources they do downstairs. You look at the training facilities, the weight room, the clubhouse, it’s all Major League quality. And that’s before you come out here and take a look at the field and the luxury boxes. They got a pool out in right-center field. There’s a lot to like about this place.”
If there is a flaw to this ballpark, it is the fact that baseballs are leaving it very easily because of the dry desert air. For the greedy MLB owners this was a reason to cut the Lancaster Jethawks as a Low A team… So perhaps it is better for the Colorado Rockies to sign a deal with the Aviators in ten years so their pitchers can get used to cheap home runs.
To get an impression of what an awesome ballpark Las Vegas Ballpark really is, skyway pics has created a virtual tour. This is a must see. It shows the ballpark from almost every possible angle.
The new ballpark doesn’t only offer a great fan experience, since there aren’t really any bad seats, it also has the best facilities for future MLB players, just the way MLB wants it.
The ballpark was constructed by Populous, formerly known as HOK, a company that also constructed Orioles Park at Camden Yards and then came up with a tidal wave of retro looking ballparks. Las Vegas Ballpark has a capacity of 10,000 but the biggest crowd so far was during a game on May 14, 2019: 12,111. The dimensions of the ballpark are as follows:
Left field: 340 ft (100 m)
Left-center field: 380 ft (120 m)
Center field: 415 ft (126 m)
Right-center field: 380 ft (120 m)
Right field: 340 ft (100 m
The construction of the ballpark cost $150 million.
With the Oakland Athletics having permission of MLB to look for a new city, since the city of Oakland isn’t eager to decide about a location of a future A’s ballpark in Oakland, Las Vegas is one of the main candidates. If the A’s and Las Vegas can strike a deal about a new ballpark, the question remains what will happen to Las Vegas Ballpark. Forcing the Aviators to move elsewhere would be a waste of resources. But since it is a trend for MLB clubs to have their affiliations as close to home as possible, there is a very big chance that the Aviators will stay in Summerlin and become the closest AAA affiliate in baseball, an honor which is held by the St. Paul Saints now.
To conclude this blog post, here are two video tours of Las Vegas Ballpark. It shows even more what a good looking ballpark this is.